Los Angeles County recorded its 300,000th coronavirus case and its 7,000th COVID-19 death on Monday. For perspective, L.A. had more than 100,000 cases than the county with the second-largest number of infected residents, Miami-Dade in Florida. For further perspective, that means L.A. has 3.4% of the country’s cases.
Los Angeles County reported 861 new coronavirus cases Monday. That pushed the county’s cumulative total over the 300,000 mark to 300,614. There are 767 people currently hospitalized due to the virus.
It took the region about five months to reach 100,000 infections. With the summer surge, it was a little over a month before L.A. had suffered 200,000 cases. It was about another 2 1/2 months to 300,000 cases. But infections are on the rise again.
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Los Angeles County public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Monday that the county in the past week has been averaging about 1,200 new coronavirus cases per day, up from 940 per day at the beginning of October. She calls the increase a “cause for concern” and a “call to everyone” to recommit to infection-control measures, physical distancing and face coverings.
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Los Angeles saw a near-record spike in daily infections on Thursday to 3,600. L.A. County health officials estimated that about 2,000 of those cases were the result of a backlog. That would set the day’s real total at 1,600, far above the 800-1,000 new cases in the past few weeks and still the largest daily case number recorded since August.
“Last week, the department experienced reporting system issues, first seeing low case numbers followed by high case numbers,” said Ferrer on Monday. “Because of differences in test processing times and reporting lags, the new cases we announce daily are likely collected over several days and sometimes include backlogs of test results.”
But even subtracting the backlog, the spike is still the largest daily new cases total in at least two months. And that 2,000-case backlog means that other recent lower counts were inaccurate.
California on Friday reported its own massive surge in cases, from 3,707 the day before to 6,141, a number of daily infections not seen in the state since August. The state’s COVID-19 surveillance site had a terse statement indicating that those numbers were also impacted by the data backlog.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, however, failed to mention the high new numbers or backlog in a nearly hourlong press conference Friday. Neither did he hold his usual Monday news conference. To date, there still has been no explanation for the backlog.
On Monday, the state’s number of new infections was just under 3,000, but early-week numbers often are lower due to a backlog over the weekend. That brought the state’s total to over 900,000. It continues to the be most-infected region in the country.
Across the nation, the daily number of new cases late last week hit the highest level since the pandemic began.
Coronavirus cases in the United States were spiking again to highs not seen since the July peak of the pandemic.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there were 71,671 new infections reported Thursday. That’s the fourth-highest total ever, and less than 4,000 from the previous peak of 77,362 on July 16.
Daily cases in the country have grown by nearly 15,000 a day in just the past week — infections dipped to 57,519 on October 17.
The New York Times reported on Friday that hospitalizations have jumped more than 40% across the country in the past month, raising concerns that the healthcare system could be overwhelmed. That would drastically increase the mortality rate, as Americans needing hospital care would be left to face the virus on their own.
In addition to the sky-high number of infections, L.A. County also saw eight new deaths from the virus Monday, pushing the local death total over 7,000.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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